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10th September 2018

Victoria's fiercest young poets battled at Outloud Eco!Slam 2018 (video)

By Kristy Wan

Image of Victoria's fiercest young poets battled at Outloud Eco!Slam 2018 (video)

St Albans Secondary College wins OutLoud Grand Final at Melbourne Writers Festival

Seven schools fought to claim the title of Victoria’s finest and fiercest spoken-wordsters as they battled it out at the grand final of OUTLOUD ECO!SLAM 2018, a high-school poetry slam competition, created by Australian Poetry in partnership with Red Room Poetry and Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.

Akegma Arok and Shalom Tiatia, a team of two from St Albans Secondary College, brought their fiercest and best performance to take out the title of OUTLOUD ECO!SLAM winners for 2018, speaking their own truths on equality.

"Poetry in itself was a whole new world for me. As it is an art form of speech that requires you to be able to speak your mind and to express your views through literature and the use of rhyme and rhythm. I am generally a very shy person and not really good with being in front of an audience, but doing poetry and going through the Outloud comp has made me feel more comfortable in front of audiences." ~ Shalom

"My poetic adventures have just begun and I hope to continue influencing others through my words and enabling them to find deeper meanings and purposes to their own lives and dreams." ~ Akegma

Judges included renowned YA writer Daniella Binks and spoken word poet Soreti Kadir. The sold-out Grand Final took place on Tuesday 28 August 2018 at Deakin Edge, Federation Square, as part of Melbourne Writers Festival 2018. The project, which will also run in 2019, is supported by the City of Melbourne Arts Grants Program 2018.

Over six months, schools from all over Victoria developed, edited, rehearsed and polished original spoken word poetry performances. Nineteen schools competed in heats held at Melbourne Gardens, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. For the full list of schools, see below. Finalist schools were Haileybury City Campus, Geelong Sacred Heart, Northcote High School, John Monash Science School, Eltham College, Macleod P-12 College and St Albans Secondary College.

“When you give teenagers a microphone, amazing things happen, people drop everything and listen. They have so much to say, we all had goosebumps watching these passionate young minds express their fears, anger and excitement about the future. Slam poetry allows them a platform to creatively execute ideas and insights adults and peers need to hear. Their words are important, their passion is infectious and their power is indescribable.”  ~ Emilie Zoey Baker, poet and performer, Artistic Director of OutLoud

St Albans High School will receive a paid performance at the State finals of the National Australian Poetry Slam at the State Library of Victoria, a radio interview and a professional workshop with a leading internationally acclaimed hip hop artist and poet. Poems will be published on AP and RR websites, and in AP’s publications. Akegma and Shalom also receive individual subscriptions to Australian Poetry and Express Media magazines.

Akegma and Shalom speak their experiences from the heart. They are well-respected students within St Albans Secondary College and we're all so happy for them to be able to pursue their dreams. And we're thankful they were given the opportunity to shine through the OutLoud competition. ~ Vicki Bunce, Akegma and Shalom's teacher


Participating Schools

Heat 1: Footscray College, Geelong Sacred Heart, Hume Valley, Haileybury City Campus, Galen Catholic College, Mordialloc Catholic College, John Monash Science School, University High
Heat 2: Australian International Academy Caroline Springs, Eltham College, Loyola College, Glenroy College, Melbourne High School, Macleod P-12 College, Northcote High School, Kilvington Grammar, Marymede, St Albans Secondary College, Catholic Regional College (Keilor)

Watch all performances from the heats and finals